CHAPTER 10 - The Roles of the Ordinances
You can read along on pages 141-145
It quickly becomes clear in this chapter that Dr. Dever has a much different understanding of baptism than what we do. Even so, his primary point remains valid, that "baptism identifies us as members of the community called the people of God—the church (Pg 141)."
This is a very short chapter, but it covers some very important topics which we need to bone up on. Use these excerpts from the Heidelberg Catechism to help you prepare yourself to answer the think tank questions below:
#66 - What are sacraments?
Sacraments are holy signs and seals for us to see.
They were instituted by God so that
by our use of them
he might make us understand more clearly
the promise of the gospel,
and might put his seal on that promise.
And this is God’s gospel promise:
to forgive our sins and give us eternal life
by grace alone
because of Christ’s one sacrifice
finished on the cross.
#70 - What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?
To be washed with Christ’s blood means
that God, by grace, has forgiven my sins
because of Christ’s blood
poured out for me in his sacrifice on the cross.
To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means
that the Holy Spirit has renewed me
and set me apart to be a member of Christ
so that more and more I become dead to sin
and increasingly live a holy and blameless life.
#72 - Does this outward washing with water itself wash away sins?
No, only Jesus Christ’s blood and the Holy Spirit cleanse us from all sins.
#74 - Should infants, too, be baptized?
Infants as well as adults
are in God’s covenant and are his people.
They, no less than adults, are promised
the forgiveness of sin through Christ’s blood
and the Holy Spirit who produces faith.
Therefore, by baptism, the mark of the covenant,
infants should be received into the Christian church
and should be distinguished from the children of unbelievers.
This was done in the Old Testament by circumcision,
which was replaced in the New Testament by baptism
#78 - Are the bread and wine changed into the real body and blood of Christ?
Just as the water of baptism
is not changed into Christ’s blood
and does not itself wash away sins
but is simply God’s sign and assurance,
so too the bread of the Lord’s Supper
is not changed into the actual body of Christ
even though it is called the body of Christ
in keeping with the nature and language of sacraments.
#80 - How does the Lord’s Supper differ from the Roman Catholic Mass?
The Lord’s Supper declares to us
that our sins have been completely forgiven
through the one sacrifice of Jesus Christ
which he himself finished on the cross once for all.
It also declares to us
that the Holy Spirit grafts us into Christ,
who with his very body
is now in heaven at the right hand of the Father
where he wants us to worship him.
But the Mass teaches
that the living and the dead
do not have their sins forgiven
through the suffering of Christ
unless Christ is still offered for them daily by the priests.
It also teaches
that Christ is bodily present
in the form of bread and wine
where Christ is therefore to be worshiped.
Thus the Mass is basically
nothing but a denial of the one sacrifice and suffering of Jesus Christ
and a condemnable idolatry.
#81 - Who are to come to the Lord’s table?
Those who are displeased with themselves
because of their sins,
but who nevertheless trust
that their sins are pardoned
and that their continuing weakness is covered
by the suffering and death of Christ,
and who also desire more and more
to strengthen their faith
and to lead a better life.
Hypocrites and those who are unrepentant, however, eat and drink judgment on themselves.
Are our efforts to 'fence the table' - that is, efforts to prevent those who should not be coming to the table from participating - sufficient?
Could you explain why we baptize infants in this church to a new attender?
How would you explain to a Lutheran neighbor who rarely attends church that salvation involves more than just being baptized as a baby and later 'confirmed' by the church?
Could you explain the differences between the Roman Catholic Mass and Biblical communion?